Changes keep things fresh at YMCA

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Naugatuck YMCA Health and Wellness Director Darnell Brown, left, talks with Liz Dodge, a fitness instructor at the YMCA, about aerial yoga Sept. 21 at the YMCA on Church Street. Aerial yoga is a new program offered by the YMCA following some renovations. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — People looking to give their yoga routine a bit of a lift may find what they’re looking for at the Naugatuck YMCA.

The YMCA’s many fitness programs now include aerial yoga classes.

“It’s just one of those things that’s new and upcoming, and we found the need and the desire to have it here in the community,” Naugatuck YMCA CEO Susan Talbot said.

The YMCA added nine mounts to hang aerial yoga swings, also known as yoga hammocks or slings, to a fitness room as part of a host of changes recently made to the YMCA on Church Street.

Every year the YMCA closes for a week in August to make some changes — some minor and some major, Talbot explained. The changes could be to programs, like adding aerial yoga, or to infrastructure, like the new bleachers that were put in the gym last year.

“It’s just to revision the Y and bring it up to speed in terms of new developments in health and wellness as well as keep things fresh for our members,” Talbot said.

The YMCA spent more than $35,000 on upgrades this year, according to Talbot. The funds come from the YMCA’s capital campaign and other outside sources, like grants.

Aside from aerial yoga, the YMCA converted the former racquetball room into an agility room for personal training that includes a treadwall, a vertical treadmill that people can climb. The YMCA also upgraded and expanded its security surveillance systems, and put in new flooring in several rooms.

Talbot said the next projects on tap are upgrading the heating and cooling system in the building and building an adaptive playscape for children with special needs. The YMCA has already begun raising money for the projects.

Talbot said the Naugatuck YMCA is in its 124th year because it continues to adapt to the needs of the community. To some, she said, the new programs may seem like passing fads, but they keep people interested and connected to the YMCA.

In 2013, the YMCA had 10,000 visits, which includes the same person coming multiple times, during the year, she said. As of last week, the YMCA had 54,000 visits this year, she said.

“You need to be cutting-edge to stay viable and needed in the community,” Talbot said. “The community’s needs change, so we need to change what we offer in order to meet those needs.”